About This Series
Publication Date: January 2010
What Are Performance Measurement and Program Evaluation?
What Are the Basic Steps?
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What Are the Basic Steps?

Present and Report Results

In summarizing evaluation results, remember the purpose of your evaluation and the audience for your report. The report will include an interpretation of the results of your evaluation and will serve several purposes:

  • Demonstrate accountability and attract resources.
  • Educate stakeholders and the public about your program’s value.
  • Gain support for your program.
  • Guide decisionmaking.

Tips on creating the report and considering your audience follow.

The Report

The evaluation report is a comprehensive document that describes the results of implementing your evaluation plan. In general, the type and structure of your report will depend on your audience, but every evaluation report has several integral parts:

  • Title Page—A single page that includes the name of your program, the name of the evaluator or company (if applicable), and the date the report is prepared.
  • Table of Contents—A list of topics and their page locations in the report.
  • Executive Summary—A very brief overview of the purpose of the evaluation, evaluation questions, and procedures that highlights your findings and recommendations.
  • Introduction—A description of the background, purpose, and contents of the report. This section sets the stage for the report by providing a description of your program and the type of evaluation conducted, the target audience, goals of the evaluation, and the questions addressed.
  • Methodology—A description of the evaluation plan, which includes a description of the evaluation design, data collection strategies and instruments, and analysis methods.
  • Findings and Results—A summary of your analysis and an interpretation of your findings. This section should provide extensive details about the results of the evaluation (e.g., accomplishments, program strengths and weaknesses, participant reactions or knowledge and skill gains, effectiveness in bringing about changes, outcomes, impacts). The section should also document the limitations of the evaluation (e.g., cautions about how to use the findings). Generously use tables, charts, and graphs in addition to text to illustrate the results.
  • Conclusions and Recommendations—A summary of the implications of the findings, which includes how the findings will be used, strengths and weaknesses revealed, and decisions that must be made as a result of the evaluation.
  • Appendixes—Documents that support aspects of the report and further illustrate its findings or that describe the evaluation overall. For example, you will want to include the data collection instruments, bibliography of resources consulted, and diagrams to further explain how you implemented the evaluation.

Overall, the evaluation report is your chance to document the results of your program activities. A sample report outline is provided in appendix J (PDF 79 KB).

Tips To Remember!

  • Communicate clearly and effectively. Be succinct.
  • Avoid making sweeping generalizations.
  • Note the limitations of your data and conclusions.
  • Cross-check your data and sources, but refrain from suppressing unfavorable results.

The Audience

To ensure that you get the right message out, you must think about your audience and its specific information needs. Make sure that your conclusions are relevant to your audience. Consider these questions:

  • Who will be reading these reports?
  • What do you most hope to convey?
  • What do you hope they learn from your reports?
  • How can they duplicate what you have done to achieve similar results?

There are potentially many audiences you may want to target. These include program staff, community stakeholders, collaborators or external partners, policymakers, and the media. Your staff may use this information internally to improve program function, effectiveness, and efficiency. Community stakeholders and external collaborators may want to implement an evaluation similar to yours. Finally, depending on the results, policymakers and even the media also may be interested in your findings. Policymakers may be interested in the success or overall nature of the evaluation in terms of making strategic decisions about your program and other programs like yours, while your findings may also increase the visibility of your program in the media. Therefore, what you highlight for each audience will differ greatly. The bottom line: Consider your audience.